Update on Skilled Worker Minimum Salary Increase and Other Changes

Danielle Cohen
By Danielle Cohen Immigration Law Solicitor Linkedin
Danielle Cohen has over 20 years of experience as a lawyer and a reputation for offering professional, honest and expert advice.
11 March 2024
  • From 11th of March 2024 the immigration rules will prevent care workers and senior care workers from bringing dependents to the UK with them.
  • As of the 4th of April, the plan is to increase the earnings to ensure for those arriving on the skilled worker visa route with a minimum threshold increasing to £38,700. According to the Home Office changing the skilled worker salary threshold from £26,200 to £38,700 is significant, asking employers to focus on recruiting the brightest and best. The Government is encouraging all sectors to adapt and make employment more attractive to UK domestic workers through offering training, career options, wage increases and to invest in increased automation technology. The Government will also seek to review the graduate route to ensure that it works in the best interest of the UK, but it will not be abolished. They have asked the Immigration Advisory Committee to review the graduate route to prevent abuse and it will undertake the review of the graduate route throughout 2024.
  • Existing skilled worker visa holders will be exempt from the minimum salary threshold requirements as will health and care visa routes. The shortage occupation list will be replaced by the immigration salary list. On 4th of April the 20% going rate discount for shortage occupation will be removed. What is the rationale behind the changes to the shortage occupation list? The rationale behind it is the Government’s view that UK businesses have become over reliant on overseas workers coming to the UK on a skilled workers visa and health and care workers visa and the use of shortage occupation list to achieve salary savings on overseas migrants labour. The changes will be introduced gradually throughout 2024 and the Government aims to strike the right balance between the immediate need to start reducing immigration and giving those affected adequate time to prepare for the changes.
  • On 11th of April, the minimum salary threshold for family visa applications will rise from £18,600 gross per annum to £29,000 gross per annum with the intention that it ultimately will rise to £38,700 by early 2025.
  • As of 13th of February 2024 the maximum single penalty for employing an illegal worker increased from £20,000 to £60,000 per worker. This change is a part of the Government’s efforts to deter illegal immigration.
  • On 31st of January 2024 visitors coming to the UK to carry out inter corporate activity can now carry out client facing activities, so long as it is incidental to the employment abroad. Visitors are permitted to visit the UK for a range of different permitted purposes so long as they are genuine visitors and intend to leave at the end of the visit. Now that you are allowed to visit clients, the Home Office will expect that such activities are of short duration and the visitors will mainly be based at their own companies offices, as opposed to the client’s offices. This will be useful for an executive of multi-national companies who are involved in cross border projects.
  • From 31st of January 2024, visitors can carry out remote working in the UK but that must not be the primary purpose of the visit. The Home Office recognised that in this day and age remote working is prevalent and those on holiday in the UK may have to answer a few work emails during their time off. The crucial caveat is that remote working must be relating to employment overseas. Currently, more than 25 counties globally have launched programmes to attract digital nomad. Perhaps the Home Office may seek to launch its own digital nomad programme or seek to include it in the existing visitors rule.